paris, oberkampf, march 2007
images & edit by vincent moon
sounds by chryde
produced by chryde for la blogotheque
We took Chris Garneau into an animated Parisian bar. He played softly, ignoring the clamor round him. It was just quiet and beautiful.
There was low lighting, a menu scratched in chalk, smoky air, girls laughing, and clinking glasses. There was a dark, wooden piano, a hideous caricature statue of Gainsbourg, magazines strewn all about, and abounding discussion. There was a guy bent over the ivory with stooping shoulders, who seemed to be singing for his own amusement. His name was Chris Garneau.
That afternoon, we had crossed the whole north side of Paris, talking for hours about how I discovered Chris’s music and about his childhood partly spent near Versailles. We laughed with his friend, gave up our seats for some elderly passengers on the 96 bus, and, during all this, Chris hardly ever took his hands out of the tiny pockets of his tiny jeans. He rarely held his head up, and his shoulders remained permanently curled over. He emitted these small laughs and spoke with a slender voice, which was strangely timid yet open, embarrassed yet ready for anything. Ready to play in a bar that he discovered, surrounded by surprised Parisians.
After the first song—which was barely announced and had quieted the clientele—the Troisième Bureau bar began to come alive again. The espresso machine rumbled, the girls laughed, and the glasses chimed. Chris continued to play softly, caring little about the clamor around him. He sang alone, folded over the piano and whispering into the mic, as if he were actually playing before a tranquil and blurry landscape.
In the end, we were drawn into the song “Between the Bars”, forced into Chris’s quiet, whispering soundscape. Vincent Moon was at the other end of the room, perched behind some candles. The hazy space between him and Chris remained both noisy and attentive at the same time, absorbing certain parts of Chris’ musical caress.
We brought in a level of exaggeration to this last song for a change of pace. We left, sang outside, and came back into the bar as if we weren’t invited. Chris stopped suddenly in the middle for a tuning problem as the bar continued to live on, which made it even more magnificent. In the end, the tuning seemed the same, which made us wonder whether he had stopped for a completely different and mysterious reason.
We’ll never know for sure. Following this, we walked up to the Maroquinerie, where we had organized a show with Chris. A show for a more attentive audience, for whom Chris still had the same timid, yet open, nature as before.
text by chryde